Poor giveaways and a lacking attack leads to NYCFC’s loss to St. Louis City

  • NYCFC suffered their second defeat in a row
  • The Pigeons lost 2-0 to St. Louis City SC

NYCFC / Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports

After losing to Charlotte FC to open the season, New York City FC traveled to face St. Louis City SC on Saturday night.  This was the first meeting of the two sides in Major League Soccer.  The Pigeons tend to struggle on the road, but anything can happen in the beautiful game.

Meanwhile, Nick Cushing was without Talles Magno and Tayvon Gray.  Some wondered whether the head coach would change up the lineup from last week.  He did, but only made one change.  Andrés Perea started over Julián Fernández, who struggled in last week’s game.  Additionally, Christian McFarlane made the bench.  The young Homegrown is a player that could see minutes with the first team this season.

In the end, NYCFC fell to St. Louis 2-0.  Offensive struggles and poor giveaways led to the loss.

NYCFC had a stronger start to this week’s matchup.  They were into the match right away, had a higher energy level, and were confident on the ball.  There was a back-and-forth affair where it felt like an even battle.  Sadly, a James Sands giveaway led to St. Louis’ first goal. 

NYCFC’s road struggles continued in loss to St. Louis

In the 35th minute, the home side stole the ball from Sands in NYCFC’s own half, and Célio Pompeu gained possession.  The Boys in Blue were transitioning into an attacking sequence, so this left the defense out of sorts.  Therefore, the Brazilian took advantage of this, maneuvering around players to swiftly take his shot and put the ball past Matt Freese.  The break in the backline and defensive focus allowed for the goal.

However, Sands was on point up until the goal.  His defensive work was noticeable with his interceptions and clearances.  He helped keep the defense in a compact formation, making it difficult for St. Louis to score. 

After the goal, he gave up the ball twice more in the first half, clearly shaken by his mistake.  He was a little better in the second, but he was not the same player he was in the first 34 minutes.  Of course, the red card toward the end of the fixture did not help.

In the meantime, the Pigeons again continued to play somewhat well on the pitch.  They could not find a way to become an attacking threat, and another giveaway by Santiago Rodríguez led to the second goal.  This allowed St. Louis to go on a run, and Samuel Adeniran received the ball.  His speed and physicality led him to pass NYCFC players, get to the end line, and shoot the ball from an angle.  It ended in the back of the net in the 72nd minute and was the nail in the coffin for the visitors.

There is no question the giveaways are why NYCFC lost the match.  Yet, the attack was quiet and missing.  They controlled the possession with 52.7%, but once they made their way into the final third, there was a lack of service, accuracy, and opportunities.  If there was a chance to be taken, then it was often not taken.

Moreover, what they were doing throughout the 90 minutes was not working.  It did not appear Cushing changed his tactical approach in the game.  The inability to adjust when the Pigeons are losing happens too often with the head coach.

Unfortunately, the road woes continue to haunt NYCFC.  They will head home for two matches in a row but will be without Sands for the home opener.  The start of the 2024 season is just as disappointing as 2023.